France can now block suspected terrorism websites without a court order

A new decree that went into effect today allows the French government to block websites accused of promoting terrorism and publishing child pornography, without seeking a court order. Under the new rules, published last week by France’s Ministry of the Interior, internet service providers (ISPs) must take down offending websites within 24 hours of receiving a government order. French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve says the decree is critical to combatting terrorism, but civil rights groups say it gives the government dangerously broad powers to suppress free speech.

The regulations have been under consideration since 2011, but gained new momentum following last month’s terrorist attacks at the Paris office of the satirical magazine…

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